Railroads & Locomotives Passenger Service Bob Johnston’s “Intermountain Odyssey”

Bob Johnston’s “Intermountain Odyssey”

By Angela Cotey | November 26, 2013

| Last updated on January 8, 2021

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Check out additional material related to Bob Johnston’s “Intermountain Odyssey” article in Classic Trains’ Special Edition No. 13, All Aboard!


View clips from the 8mm movies that Bob Johnston took during the 1963 NRHS Intermountain Limited convention.

Transportation Notice

See the Burlington Route’s original Transportation Notice for the Aug. 26–Sept. 7, 1963, Intermountain Limited NRHS convention special.

Download the notice by clicking on the underlined PDF below.


Read about what became of the locomotives and rail lines involved in the Intermountain Limited.


Where are they now?

Author Bob Johnston has provided these updates to the railroad lines and trains, and some of the locomotives, that were part of his landmark “Intermountain Odyssey” experience from Chicago to Colorado and back for the 1963 National Railway Historical Society’s annual national convention, held that year in Denver. His article on this trip appears in Classic Trains Special Edition No. 13, All Aboard!



Railroad lines


Chicago, Burlington & Quincy

Chicago–Lincoln, Nebr.–Alliance–Edgemont, S.Dak.: In use by BNSF Railway; most of Chicago–Lincoln is part of the route of Amtrak’s California Zephyr—Oreapolis (Plattsmouth)–Ashland, Nebr., is freight-only, as CZ goes via Omaha


Edgemont–Deadwood, S.Dak.: Abandoned by Burlington Northern in 1983


Alliance, Nebr.–Brush, Colo.–Denver, Colo.: In use by BNSF Railway, Brush–Denver is part of the route of Amtrak’s California Zephyr


Brush, Colo.–Lincoln, Nebr.: In use by BNSF Railway, part of the route of Amtrak’s California Zephyr


Denver & Rio Grande Western

Denver–Rifle-Grand Junction, Colo.: In use by Union Pacific, part of the route of Amtrak’s California Zephyr


Royal Gorge Route: Line embargoed by UP between Dotsero and Parkdale, Colo. (over Tennessee Pass) in 1997. Line, owned by UP, is in use between Parkdale and Canon City (through the Royal Gorge) by freight short line Rock & Rail and tourist line Royal Gorge Railroad; Canon City–Pueblo line in use by UP


“Joint line” between Walsenburg, Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Denver, in 1963 owned by D&RGW and the Santa Fe (Pueblo–Denver), with Colorado & Southern as tenant: In use by UP and BNSF Railway; the former Santa Fe through Colorado Springs is abandoned


Grand Junction–Montrose, Colo.: In use by UP


Durango–Silverton, Colo.: In use by Durango & Silverton Narrow-Gauge tourist line


Durango–Chama, N.Mex.–Antonito, Colo.–Alamosa: Abandoned by D&RGW Durango–Chama in 1968; in use, Chama–Antonito, by Cumbres & Toltec Scenic tourist line; in use, Antonito–Alamosa, by San Luis & Rio Grande, tourist and freight line


Alamosa–La Veta–Walsenburg, Colo.: In use by SL&RG (freight-only east of La Veta)


Colorado & Southern

Denver–Loveland, Colo.: In use by BNSF Railway


Great Western Railway

Longmont­–Loveland, Colo., in use by GWR


Union Pacific

Denver–Cheyenne–Laramie, Wyo.: In use by UP



Locomotives and trains


Black Hills Central: 2-6-2 No. 7 still going strong on the same tourist line at Hill City, S.Dak. Narrow-gauge 2-8-0 No. 69 Klondike Casey is back home on the White Pass & Yukon Route tourist line out of Skagway, Alaska. Chicago & North Western R-1 4-6-0 No. 444 is displayed under cover at Forney Museum of Transportation in Denver


CB&Q 4-8-4 No. 5632: Last ran on November 1, 1964; scrapped in 1969


CB&Q SD9’s Nos. 340, 345, 346: To Burlington Northern 6142, 6147, 6148, retired 1996, 1991, 1990, respectively


D&RGW trains 7 and 8, the Prospector, discontinued in 1967


D&RGW trains 1 and 2, the Royal Gorge, cut back to Denver–Salida in 1964; Denver Zephyr Colorado Springs–Denver cars discontinued Jan. 1, 1967; train discontinued completely July 27, 1967


Union Pacific 4-8-4 No. 8444: regained its original 844 number in 1989 after it outlived GP30 No. 844


Great Western 2-10-0 No. 90: Active on Strasburg Rail Road in Pennsylvania


D&RGW 2-8-2 No. 478: Active on Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge tourist line


D&RGW 2-8-2 No. 484: Active on Cumbres & Toltec Scenic tourist line


D&RGW 2-8-2 No. 487: Active on Cumbres & Toltec Scenic tourist line




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